10/10/04 - For the 2nd year in a row, we have won the Nationals without a single loss!
08/23/04 - Here's a sad note from Steve Brown of Steel Conflict:
"As much as we've enjoyed our time with you folks, the time has come to
say good bye.
On August 31, 2004, Steel Conflict will close its doors forever and
close a chapter in our lives that we will remember fondly.
I thank each of you who kept this dream alive through a vast number of
Hopefully we'll see you 'round an arena at a fighting robot event in
the future. Until that time, though, I bid you a farewell and I ask
God's blessing on each of you who gave your hearts and souls to a dream
that was Steel Conflict.
Steve, Katy and family"
04/25/04 - Steel Conflict 5, AKA Southwest Division Championships was awesome!! Max Wedge took 1st place!! RCX was an incredible venue for all things radio control. For those that missed him Heli Champion Allen Szabo was putting on his incredible heli demos. He flew inverted and backwards all day long!! Here is the fight tree for this tourney. Our first fight was with WolfRam. The boy drives great! We had a hard time getting a good hit on him. His lifting arm was inoperative, but WolfRam was still a very tough fight!! Our second fight was against Sweet. We lost our antenna and a tire in this match. But our 2 hard hits into Sweet's blade caused a massive failure and gave us the win. Sean was being taped for TechTV. We got interviewed as well. Our 3rd fight was against our friend Thomas with Nasty Attitude. That fight put us into the losers bracket as Thomas rolled us over on our back for the first time ever!! Our 4th fight was against Tuca the Cat. These folks were a very nice family team. We ended up placing them against the beam. Unknown to us they had taped out. Not knowing this, I removed them from the wall expecting some more fighting, but the match was already over. Bill, Roy and the box guy laughed their butts off because I didnt get any more play time. Our 5th fight was against Psychotron. We finally beat Kelly after 3 tries! Winning that fight put us back into the winners bracket for our 6th fight to face our most often fought Team Plumb Crazy with Devils Plunger. We ended up sticking DP on top of the wall for the win. That put us into the final round against our buddy Thomas and Nasty Attitude once again. Bill and I debated about removing our weaponry that lost us the previous battle with him. But since we do so well with our current armament package, we stuck with it. We stuffed Nasty Attitude into the pit in only 15 seconds. That victory made us the Middle Weight Champions of RCX!!
03/21/04 - Robolympics was awesome!! Max Wedge took 1st place!! The fight tree can bee seen here. Click on any bot's name to see the scoring for that fight. In our first fight, we received our first ever pair of flips from the hands of Terrabyte. Ironically they had a drive system failure and tapped out. So we got the KO at 1:08 into the fight. Their spinning drum really packs a punch. They sent us up around 4 feet in altitude twice!! We suffered a shattered motor brush housing. Thankfully we found a new motor at the contest as I had left all of the spares at home. So the motor hold down will get updated to prevent this from happening again. The front Titanium wedge took such a pounding that we had to use the backup wedge. Our second fight was against our friends Bad Attitude. Thomas and I exchanged several acrobatic blows. During a slam to the wall, Bad Attitude flew out of the arena, giving us the KO at 1:16 into the fight. In our forth round we fought our buddy James with his new wedge named "Another Boring Wedge". We melted a tread pattern into the tires with a soldering iron, for better traction, just before our fight with James. I could not tell the difference while driving, but a close look at the tapes may help. We exchanged lots of blows. James is a 12 pounder champion, so this boy can drive!! Finally with a wall slam, I got James just over the top of the wall, and with a little finess, barely pushed him over the beam, giving us the KO at 2:20 into the fight. In our fifth fight, we went against Stahl driven by Mike Kalkwarf. Stahl is all steel and extremely compact. We went almost the whole 3 minutes, but at the very end of the fight a good slam put Stahl on top of the beam, so we were awarded a KO at 3:00 into the fight. Now we are in the finals. We fight the top guy in the loser bracket for the Gold Medal. Of course it's Devil's Plunger, again!! We met them just like this in the 2003 Nationals. Both teams were doing well, trading some good slams with great driving skill on both sides. We took a slam to the wall from Devil's Plunger, then shortly thereafter lost the drive belt to the right side of our bot. We still had one wheel driving on the right side, but it had lost so much tread, that it was hardly touching the ground!!! So we could only move in large turns. Going backwards was a little better. Then all of a sudden Matt's bot stopped moving near one wall. Two tires diagonal to each other were spinning, but not touching the ground!!! So we went over and moved them around and they just were not mobile. So we spent the rest of the fight trying to show what was left our our mobility by repeatedly bumping into them. The fight went the whole 3 minutes, with Max Wedge taking the finals in a judges decision, 21 to 12. We lost our first 3/4" wide belt during the last fight against Devil's Plunger. It was a boring and frustrating end to a long day. There were so many different types of robots at RobOlympics. The coolest were the Robo One folks!! We had a new teammate with us this time. He is Bill's nephew Dan. He did a great job of helping and video taping our fights as well as several great fights of other teams throughout the weekend. This was our first event that we actually had team shirts as well as decals for my speed control rebuilding efforts.
09/21/03 - The Triangle Series Nationals were great. I want to add a huge thanks to Ty Tyssedal, who was a seriously great help to Bill and myself, and a blast to hang out with all weekend!! Ty competes with his middleweight bot Rumincoke. Here is the fight tree. We had a first round bye. Then we won the following fights. Hwoarf 26-19, That Darn Dustpan 23-22, Devil's Plunger 25-20, Devil's Plunger 25-20 again. By shear luck of the draw we won a SnapOn toolbox. Whew! It was nothing short of a miracle that we won. Our battery's capacity were down by 50%. At around the 2 minute mark, Max Wedge would slow down to a crawl. That forced us to drive very defensively. It cost us points in every fight. Lots of testing will going into fixing this problem. The good news is that we can still win with our bot going so slow.
08/17/03 - Steel Conflict 4 at the Petersen Automotive Museum in downtown Los Angeles, was fun. A huge thanks goes to Don Shiver for hosting us for the weekend!! This contest was judged using only aggression and damage. Strategy was not considered. All other contests have used all 3 for judging criteria. There were also no arena hazards. Here is the fight tree. Our first fight was with VDD5.0. We beat each other up pretty good. This was the first time we have ever lost a tire. The piece that was torn off stayed inside the bot and siezed that half of our drivetrain. But we incapacitated his weapon, took off a drive tread and took the win by KO. Second round we went against our buddies that drive Jimmy. A fast wedge, but had drivetrain problems that left them vulnerable. We won by a tap out. The third round we were against Devil's Plunger. They simply outdrove us for the win. This put us in the losers bracket. In the 4th round we fought Psychlotron in the losers bracket and lost by judges decision, 23-22. We did better against him than we had before, but the judges didn't agree. That took us out of the tournament. We also had a fun grudge match with Thomas's Bad Attitude. That was fun. Max Wedge's overall ranking at Steel Conflict can be seen here. Max Wedge's speed and pushing power were clearly down. I set the bot up incorrectly, and in hindsite, the battery's are just getting too worn out.
02/09/03 - Steel Conflict 2 was incredible. We took first place with Max Wedge! Here is the fight tree. We had a bye in the first round, then fought and won 6 consecutive rounds by knocking out each of our opponents!! Saturday: Plan B KO'd in 2:10, CH-53 KO'd in 2:07. Sunday: Kronus KO'd in 1:29, Devil's Plunger KO'd in 22 sec., Devastator KO'd in 2:53, Knee Breaker KO'd in 2:12. This was our most diverse competition ever. We went up against 3 spinners, a CO2 flipper, and a wedge. Winning this event sends us to the Triangle Series Nationals!! Max Wedge's new wedge configuration worked extremely well. The bot was the fastest it's ever been.
08/26/02 - Steel Conflict 1 was awesome. Here are some pic's. Steve and his crew busted some serious butt to get the arena and all of the other logistics ready for all of the builders. Here is how things went. The fight tree was changed twice after the original was drawn up. We ended up against Hazard for our first fight. Talk about nervous. As the announcer yelled "Fight!!", I gave the bot about 1/3 throttle and just cruised over towards Hazard, not having a clue what to expect. Just as we made contact I went to about 3/4 throttle. Our bot didn't even move. Hazard shot backwards into the pit instantly. We got the Knock Out in a record 4 seconds. Yes!! The front skirt was poped straight up, and the skirt supports were trashed. Otherwise there was no damage!! This super short fight can be seen at the 2:47 mark under "Video Highlights" at Wildhobbies.com. So then Toni and I went back and started fabricating a new front hinge.
Our second fight was with Logos. His bot rested on the two rear wheels, and on two steel arms that always scraped on the floor on the front of the bot. For about the first 45 seconds, it was easy to out maneuver and push him around. The next minute or so, he had us on his arms, a foot in the air!!. We were totally helpless. The last 15 seconds, Logos had us pinned to the far wall. He was relentless. Then he climbed on top of us. I had the tires already spinning, so when he was no longer touching the ground, we shot across the arena straight at the pit. We were going so fast I worried big time that we could not stop. With the braking function of the OSMC and the fantastic floor traction, we stopped almost instantly, and Logos went flying into the pit. We achieved another Knock Out in 1:56.
Our third fight was with Psychotron. The problem here was, if we won, then we fought Hazard again two fights later. If we lost, we fought Hazard the very next fight. Psychotron and Max Wedge left the boxes at the same time. We both moved away from the pits. For a while I felt like I was keeping him real busy. We could get under him, we just could not keep him high centered long enough for a ride to the pits. We could rotate faster and get another run started faster than he could. One time he smacked the corner of a skirt, and bent the corner. So no he was much more easily getting under us. So we started using the rear skirt. At this point it was still a close fight, but I felt that we had a slight lead. Then near one of the pits, smoke started pouring out of our bot. We had no more power to the wheels. I remember not adding any more throttle so as to try and lessen any damage. Psychotron backed off, and the count down started. At 2:56, Psychotron got a Knock Out against us. This put us into the loser's bracket for the first time. A portion of this fight can be seen at the end of the "Video Highlights" on the Day 2 Highlights page.
Now we had our first emergency. If the OSMC's were toast then we would have to forfeit the next match against Hazard. Don, Rob, Toni and I, tore open the bot in record time. There was black soot all over the inside of the bot. One motor was totally covered with soot. There were some fried wires that had melted together just under the speed control boards. The OSMC boards were assembled in a compact housing due to space restrictions. So it took a while to get everything apart. Don had that great fiberglass insulated wire that was for high temperature applications. He made a couple new pieces for us. Rob and I were still checking and charging batteries. Suddenly one of the packs on the table started smoking and hissing. I grabbed them, layed them on the floor, trying to separate them to stop what looked like a short. No such luck. One cell just decided to die right then and there. Don had two spare 12v packs that we could have used, but just did not have the time to make them fit. So I decided that we were going with just 2 of the 3 packs. The guy running the schedule kept running over and checking our progress. After all, there was a schedule to keep. We connected a battery to the OSMC's. I put on safety glassed and everyone stood back as I powered it up. The led's came on, no smoke so far. I turned on the transmitter. All was well. Then added throttle. The wheels started spinning!! Yes. High Fives all over the place. Even Hazard's owner was watching some. Now the hard part was getting all the intricate parts back together in record time. We stuffed the battery's back in. Rob caught me making some mistakes as we reassembled the bot. There were at least 8 hands in our bot at any given moment. It went together smoothly. Just as we were putting on the skirts, Don remarked, "we are rushing to our death". Dang that was funny and true!!
On our fourth fight, we entered the box on a major adrenaline rush, but with only 2 out of three battery packs that were only 3/4 charged. "Fight" was declared. I drove around Hazard and made a close pass. Then turned around and faced him head on! Pow! Our front skirt was torn off and impaled itself into the wooden spike strip about three inches deep. I stayed on Hazard with everything I had. The bot was running great. The skirts were trashed, mostly due to the cheap steel piano hinges and my driving errors. So now Hazard was hitting the sides of our unprotected bot. Parts were flying everywhere. I got pissed! I went at him like a rabid dog! He finally could not spin up his weapon, because I stayed on him so well. He kept getting under us and pushing us around. Finally he knocked us into the pit. Hazard was awarded a Knock Out at 1:45. Max Wedge was still drivable. The drive train was in perfect shape. We still had enough energy to go longer. Hazard sustained damage to a drive motor, one of three weapon belts snapped, and a skirt was torn off!! What a match!! The crowd went nuts!! My bot would have never made it back to the box if it were not for the help of Don, Rob and Toni. The entire fight video can be seen here under the title "Hazard vs. Max Wedge".
In the 120 lb class, we ranked 5th. Hazard ranked 4th. Greg and Auction Block took third place with Max Wedge's front skirt!! Psychotron took second, and Huggy Bear took first.